Just hours after Officer Corey Budworth, a member of the Portland, Ore., Police Department’s specialized crowd control unit known as the Rapid Response Team, was indicted on a misdemeanor assault charge that he physically injured an independent photojournalist during a protest in August, 50 other officers in the squad decided to step down after a year of violent clashes with protesters, reports the New York Times. According to Deputy Chief Chris Davis, the officers voted to leave after complaining not only about the indictment, but about what they viewed as a broader lack of support after more than 150 nights of sustained protests, fueled in part by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020.
Davis said the officers would remain on regular patrol and could still be deployed to respond to protests. “If you put a human being through what they were put through, that takes a toll,” Chief Davis said. “They’re not feeling like (the) sacrifice they have made has been understood very well. That’s their perspective, and I have to honor their perspective.” In the team’s absence, Mayor Todd Wheeler has directed the police to prepare mobile forces to respond to public safety needs, including potential violence at mass gatherings and the Oregon State Police has made its Mobile Response Team available on standby.